Impact of the pandemic on the intervention time of ambulances

When a call for emergency assistance is received in a 112 centre, an ambulance service is alerted to pick up the patient in question at the intervention site and transport them to the hospital. COVID EN fig08

It was found that - primarily during the first wave of COVID-19 - the median ambulance departure time (i.e. the time between the call made to the ambulance by the 112-centre and the departure of the ambulance to the intervention site) increased significantly for a brief period[1]. This could be due to the fact that the emergency service workers had to put on their protective clothing just before their departure, which took more time due to the COVID-19 measures. As they got more used to this and the number of COVID-19 infections fell, the departure time once again decreased[2].

 IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON AMBULANCE DEPARTURE TIMES

In addition, we can observe that the weekly median length of time that an ambulance crew is present at the intervention site shows a clear increase as the first and second COVID-19 wave gained momentum[3],[4].

 IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE TIME THAT THE AMBULANCE WAS AT THE INTERVENTION LOCATION

This in turn can be explained by the fact that due to the higher risk of infection and the COVID-19 measures in force, a more cautious approach was taken in taking care of patients. This has an impact on the duration of interventions at the intervention site. Another explanation could be that fewer non-essential interventions were carried out during the COVID-19 waves. Consequently, it could be assumed that there were more interventions for patients with more severe pathology, which could explain the rise in the weekly median.

  

[1]Source: AMBUREG, Data and Policy Information Service, FPS HSFCE (7.29% of primary interventions were not taken into account due to missing values)

[2]It should be noted that the interventions were taken into account until 31/05/2021. As a result, only a few days (i.e. 28/05/2021 - 31/05/2021) were included in the last bar in the graph instead of a full week. It should also be noted that there is a fall in the number of interventions in the 30/12/2020 segment. This is because only 2 days were taken into account in this segment (30/12/2020 and 31/12/2020).

[3]Source: AMBUREG, Data and Policy Information Service, FPS HSFCE (24.55% of primary interventions were not taken into account due to missing values)

[4]It should be noted that the interventions were taken into account until 31/05/2021. As a result, only a few days (i.e. 28/05/2021 - 31/05/2021) were included in the last bar in the graph instead of a full week. It should also be noted that there is a fall in the number of interventions in the 30/12/2020 segment. This is because only 2 days were taken into account in this segment (30/12/2020 and 31/12/2020).